Not too long ago in a down-and-out, sad-about-the-world state, I flipped open the notes on my phone (where I go whenever I cannot get things off my mind). Without hesitating, I typed out all of the uninspiring thoughts twisting through my head and punctuated the chain with this, “What are we believing in? Is it all pointless?“
I had to ask myself because despite so much good work being done by so many people, it felt like there was a level of darkness that was taking over. My heart hurt. I’m committed to my life’s work, I thought, but if I couldn’t fix everything then was it even worth fixing anything?
Boiling the ocean at once isn’t possible. It’s just not. But when that is our expectation – to only do things if they’re going to have wide-spread global impact immediately, we desperately fail ourselves and we fail others. Grandiose isn’t all that matters. Scale has gotten far too much attention. And somewhere somehow, our search for meaning became synonymous for my actions have to matter to every one. In all of the attention on purpose, we’ve created a massive inequality that tilts away from the small things mattering as much as the big ones. We’ve lost the pleasure and the impact of the moments.
All of life can change in a single instance, so why not take more care of the minute-by-minute decisions we’re each making in order to create the change we seek or the meaning we desire?
Lifting up your eyes to smile might completely shift someone’s day. And that matters.
Dropping two bucks into the homeless woman’s cup might be the difference between hunger and health. That matters.
Your 5-line thank you email could give a person the courage she needs to keep creating. And that matters.
Your single presence at a march. That matters.
A 30-second phone call to your senator could be the final words they needed to fight the big fight. And that matters.
Wide-spread change is born from moment-to-moment love. Be willing to live fully in those moments. We need each individual to find value in the everyday actions. It’s the only way we get there, it’s the only way things get brighter. That small, spontaneous burst of love is all any of us actually has.
Take stock of the small things. It’s not just about the big, worldly picture. It’s about your picture. You have one chance to walk the road of life…make it count regardless of how many people ever know you’re walking. Do things even though no one may know about them. Enjoy the moments without others having to like them, too. And never think that your actions, however small, don’t matter. They do.
No matter how tiny your actions are, they become gusts of momentum that collectively take us somewhere. Taking you somewhere, provided you choose to revel rather than ignore them.